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Wrestling at the 1924 Paris Summer Games:

Men's Heavyweight, Freestyle

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Host City: Paris, France
Venue(s): Winter Velodrome, Paris
Date Started: July 11, 1924
Date Finished: July 14, 1924
Format: Single-elimination tournament with separate single-elimination tournaments for second- and third-place. Second-place tournament conducted among those losing to the winner. Third-place tournament conducted among those losing to the winner or runner-up.

Gold: USA Harry Steel
Silver: SUI Henri Wernli
Bronze: GBR Archie MacDonald


American [Harry Steel] was a big ole’ country boy who had no international experience. He was the 1924 Big Ten collegiate champion but had finished third at the US trials, and only was asked to go to Paris when John MacKay, runner-up at the trials, could not make the trip. In Paris, Steel worked with the formidable American lightweight [Robin Reed], who taught him a number of moves. In a small field of only 11 wrestlers, Steel won three matches after a first-round bye, winning the final and the gold medal by decisioning Sweden’s [Ernst Nilsson], a bronze medalist in this event at Antwerp.

Nilsson then lost again in the second-place Bergvall tournament to Swiss [Henri Wernli], who went on to the silver medal. The bronze medal went to Britain’s [Archie MacDonald], who didn’t do much to earn it. MacDonald had an opening round bye and then lost by fall to Steel. In the second-place tournament he had another opening round bye, then was decisioned by Wernli in the silver medal match. In the third-place tournament everybody else withdrew so MacDonald won both his matches by walkover. Thus he had two matches in Paris, lost them both, and went home with a bronze medal.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Harry Steel 25 United States USA Gold
2 Henri Wernli 25 Switzerland SUI Silver
3 Archie MacDonald 29 Great Britain GBR Bronze
4T Edmond Dame 30 France FRA
4T Johan Richthoff 26 Sweden SWE
4T Ernst Nilsson 32 Sweden SWE
7 Toivo Pohjala 36 Finland FIN
8T Roger Flanders 23 United States USA
8T Hans Roth Switzerland SUI
10T Hjalmar Nyström 20 Finland FIN
10T Albert Sangwine 23 Great Britain GBR